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thanks for tuning in to this gps special. you can read more of my thoughts in "time" magazine and you can always catch my regular show on sundays at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. eastern. international viewers can go to our website for air times. tonight, a man who changed television forever. >> this new service will be called a cable news network. >> ted turner has never been shy about speaking his mind. tonight, he tells all. >> the moneyed interests are taking over the country. >> mouth of the south. >> i lost my fortune, most of it. i have a billion or two left: you can get by on that if you economize. >> and a man whose ex-wife says this about it. i'm so proud of him. he's done so much good work in the world.
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>> george w. bush. >> i want to stay connected to the veteran community. i'm not going to be a public person. this is a rare interview for me. >> this is "piers morgan tonight." >> good evening the first ted turner, a tv pioneer. but, also, a very out spoken man and a rare interview for president george w. bush. if anyone knows about keeping america great is a former american president. >> after 9/11, millions of volunteers and they said i want to serve my country. and i'm -- i don't view it as anything personal. i view that as we were all serving together. we were all part of a great cause.
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the cause of securing our country. and the cause of liberty. >> that's good with george w. bush coming later. but, first, someone who, i think on this occasion, literally needs no introduction. he is the man who created cnn. the reason that i am here and others are here working here. ted turner. welcome back, ted. >> good to be here. >> how does it feel to be back? >> good. >> does it? >> yeah. >> are you still proud of cnn? >> absolutely. >> do you still watch cnn. >> i watch it. you bet. >> you like what you see? >> i like most of what i see. >> you always said about cnn, the news should be the star. >> well, that was the philosophy that we started with. but it really was the only place open for us because all the other news networks, cbs, nbc and abc, they emphasized their stars and we didn't have any stars. we were lucky to have employees. >> if you had the competition
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that's around now in cable when you first started, in other words, if there had been a fox news with right wing star anchors, msnbc had rachel and the others. would you do anything differently? >> i'd have to really give it a lot of thought and a lot of study, which i have not done because nobody has asked he to do it. i value my time greatly. i'm working on nuclear weapons, trying to get rid of them and working on the climate and getting us to change over to clean energy and stabilize the population before the world is just so overcrowded we can't turn around. i'm working on things where i can make a difference now. i really don't have any input on a regular basis. here. >> do you think cnn should become -- the reason i'm fascinated is you're the guy that started this whole business.
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and others began to do similar versions. do you think that cnn should remain the impartial observer of news? >> yes. and cover the substantial news and that doesn't mean you don't cover hollywood and kidnappings and the sensational, too. but the emphasis should be on hard news. i wanted cnn to be the new york times of the news business. not the daily news. i wanted it to be the new york times. and i thought that for the long term, that would be the best position to be in, even if the ratings weren't the greatest. if you had the most prestige and you were the network that everybody turned to in times of a crisis, that that would -- the most important position in the news business to hold. >> that is still true. i've been here 16, 17 months now.
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when that happens, it is very gratifying that the cnn ratings soar. the issue is what happens as we've had recently when there's a lengthy period of not much news. >> well, the world is a big place. and i've been around the country traveling a good bit and i watch cnn international all over the world. i probably see it as much -- or more than cnn domestic. and i think they're doing an excellent job. but they're programming for the world. and i can understand the difficulty programming for the u.s. audience it's a real challenge to do. >> let's talk about some news. what do you make of america right now? today? what do you think of your country? >> i think it's terrible that
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politics have gotten so money-oriented that the money interests are taking over the country. and i've -- and there's too much disagreement and argument between the parties. i believe in pulling together to make the country better rather than tearing it apart for partisan reasons. >> i mean, you're a guy who historically, when you've had a rival, you haven't hesitated to give him a verbal whack or two. >> well, only if it was deserved. >> what do you think of president obama? how is he doing? >> i like him. i like him. he's had a extremely difficult job. and i think he's done amazingly well.
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and he's got his spirits up and he never gets discouraged, which is really important in a particular leader that's leading us in time of great difficulty. >> if you were advising it and he could do a lot worse than ask you right now, what would you tell him to be more forcible about? where do you think he's not being strong enough? >> well, i would have liked to see him -- his positions are good on the environment. but he -- he put health care ahead of the energy bill. if he put the energy bill first when he was first elected, it would have gone through without the kind of animosity that the health care bill enchanted. so that was a mistake. but it was good to get the health care bill through. i mean, i supported that, as well as the energy bill. >> when you see american troops coming out of iraq and now
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coming out of afghanistan, there's a set timetable that's been laid down by the president, i assume that you're pleased with that? >> i am. i've studied history a lot. wars are not a good way to get things done. that he eve been a disaster for us. they've cost a trillion dollars over the period afghanistan, a trillion. it's just crazy. >> when you look at the way afghanistan is going, many say it's become a counter terrorist operation. is that really what america should have done? rather than going in with men on the ground, big, large truths and says we're going to tackle the terrorists through intelligence, through special forces and so on. >> i think war should be avoided at all costs and we should do
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everything we can to get the united nations to the deal with conflict before they get -- before people start resorting to violence just begets violence. i think we ought to renounce war and have -- let the courts handle it, have arbitration at the united nations and let them handle it and then be bound by what those decisions are. i mean, if everybody started shooting everybody that they had a disagreement with, all we'd be doing is shooting each other there's enough of that anyway. but that doesn't accomplish anything except gets people shot and escalates into war.
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>> what would you do about iran? >> well, first of all, i believe in total nuclear disarmament. we have 2,000 or several thousand nuclear weapons. iran has none at the current time. it's okay for israel, but it's not okay for iran. that's -- they're not treating everybody equally. and you -- you have no strong position except force only by force can it be done. we've already voted at the u.n. and the security council to get rid of nuclear weapons. let's get rid of them. let's get rid of ours and iran will stop. if everybody doesn't have them, then we're safe. at least safe from a nuclear attack. i mean, if we have full scale nuclear exchange, it's going to destroy life on earth. all life. maybe there will be a few
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cockroaches left. that's crazy. most of the people are really nice here. and if you treat people with dignity, respect and friendliness, like i did with the russians and the soviets before them with the goodwill games, if you try to make friends, you can make friends. and you can do that even with former enemies. look, japan bombed us at pearl harbor and now we're good friends with the japanese. we fought china in the cold war. now we're good friends with the chinese, most of us are. >> ted, let's take a break. i want to come back and talk to you about your favorite cnn moments. >> everything we said about the super station, we are also looking into the alternative of cable providers. this would be called the cable news network and would program
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good everyone evening, i'm david walker. >> that was from cnn's very first newscast on june 1st, 1980. and now the man who created cnn, ted turner. how do you feel? >> i feel good. it was a great idea and it was well executed. >> what was the great ambition for you. what did you really want to achieve? >> i wanted to better inform the world. >> do you feel you've succeeded? >> yes. how many news networks there are now? 24 hour news networks in the world? over a hundred.
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>> is that right? >> right. every country has one. you're not a country if you don't have one. people nowadays want instant information. they don't want to have to wait 8 hours. they're used to getting information right now that they need. >> there were three memorable moments that you've highlighted. one was 1987, baby jessica in being rescued from the well. tell me why you love that story so much? >> that one captured america. jessica was actually down there for over a day. >> is it also one of those examples where good news can often be just as big a story and rate just as well as bad news. there's always a perception there.
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the reason i like this, i was a young reporter in london. i remember watching 1991. they were literally on the front line, these missiles firing over their heads. reporting live. it was the most incredible, dramatic thing. >> and the explosions. the rocket's red glare. the bombs bursting in air. >> amazing. >> it was. >> let's play a clip. >> we are just in the process of getting tape fed to us from a location in jordan. this is the video tape shot by the cnn crew during the opening hours of the allied assault on baghdad. general smith, please comment on what you can see. this is the first time we've seen this tape. this is our camera crew shooting out the window in baghdad. >> was that the story or the event that made you realize just
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how big cnn could become? >> yes. that was the biggest story that -- in my opinion, the biggest story that we ever had. >> you defied the president. you kept your people there. >> oh, we have freedom of the press. we had volunteers up here who had volunteered to stay. and we didn't make anybody stay. and i just said we're going to stay. >> you also said at the time, look, i don't care what it costs. >> well, i said spend whatever it takes. i didn't say i don't care what it costs. i did care, but i didn't want to be pinching pennies on this story. >> what was the difference of having cnn's cameras on the front line of a war like that? what do you think the difference, that decision, that capability made to the way the war was covered?
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>> i -- you know, what we did was televise what we saw. >> did it bring a greater truth to war coverage? the fact that you were there? >> i think so. >> your third story of 9/11. what did that do to america? that moment? >> well, it shook us up. it was unbelievable. and watching -- i was in my office and i glanced up. and just after the first plane had gone in and i could -- the building was on fire. and i was -- i sat there stunned. and during -- while i was just sitting there just watching it, the second one came in. and i saw it live. and i ran down to the news room. walter isaacson was running cnn at the time. he had come over from "time magazine." a good man and a good friend of mine.
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and headline news had stayed with its regular format. it was giving football scores and the stock markets, you know, its half hour rolling format. and a couple of times, we had preempted that format when it was a big enough news story to warrant both cnn and headline news because the story was so compelling. and i mentioned that to walter. i said walt, have you thought about switching over headline news? he said the last thing i did at cnn. and he said that's a great idea. and within seconds, they switched over to the live coverage of the world trade center. and a few minutes later, the buildings collapsed. it was -- it was like pearl harbor. only being televised. >> let's take a break and come
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back. i want to talk to you about some of the great loves of your life. women, sailboats, sports teams. anything else you can think of? the great passions of ted turner after the break. people with a machine. what ? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it ? hello ? hello ?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello ? ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense. ♪ i hear you... ♪ rocky mountain high
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we had a great time. for ten years, i just am so happy that i got to spend ten years with him. >> that was jane fonda speaking about ted turner on the show a few months ago. ted, jane fonda, was she the great love of your life. >> probably. >> have you ever quite got over her? >> no. >> do you think you ever will? >> no. >> when you love somebody and you really love them, you never stop loving them, no matter how hard you try. there's nothing wrong with that. that's good. that's why people love their country. patriots, they love their planet. you know, i basically -- i'm basically a happy person. >> you're a man used to winning. and you lost jane. why -- >> i lost jane. i lost my job here. i lost my fortune, most of it. i have a billion or two left,
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you can get by on that if you economize. but you carry on. and i found other things to do. i'm working trying to help united nation's causes, both with my philanthropy and with my personal efforts. >> which of the three -- >> i'm in a meeting all day tomorrow to save the oceans. i'm on the committee to abolish poverty. the millennium development goals. i'm in -- i've got plenty of tough jobs. >> which of the three things that you lost. your fortune, most of it; jane fonda or the job here? >> you want me to rank them? >> yes. >> which caused you the most -- >> i love them all so much. >> which upset you the most? >> they all broke my heart. but i just, you know, i just rallied. winners never quit and quitters never win.
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i just made a comeback. >> are you a better man for having experienced -- >> i'm a more experienced man because those, you know, the aol merger and the subsequent, basically, destruction of my wealth, they hurt at the time. but i just toughed it out. and that's -- you have to keep going. you can't give up in life. >> i saw you once say at one stage after the aol merger, you saw your fortune diminishing $20 million a minute. >> no, no. it was $10 million a day for three years. close to $10 billion. >> what does that feel like? >> it felt bad. but i -- i stayed at the company and stayed on the board of
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directors to try and mitigate the losses as much as i possibly could to do what i could to help. and, as a result, i lost even more because when this -- the stockholders sued the company, i wasn't part of that suit. i was on the board and that cost me several hundred million dollars. but i had my honor. i had my honor at the end of it, which is not everybody in the media business can say. >> you had a guy look you in the eye, and, effectively, fire you from the company you created. >> that's right. >> how does that feel? >> it really hurt. we were making our budget and i was loyal to the management of the company. you've read my book, i'm sure. i didn't do anything -- didn't do anything wrong. and i think if it had been put to the employees, they would have voted to keep me. but they didn't -- they didn't do that. i done a pretty good job. i had been times man of the year. i was the only person that worked at "time" ever that got
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that honor. that's about as big an honor as you can get. and i was -- i think i was doing a good job. we were making a fabulous amount of money. >> you've replaced jane, for all intense and purposes, with a new system. you have four girlfriends at any given time. >> well, hopefully, they won't all leave me at once. >> come on, ted, how do you get away with that? >> with great difficulty. >> well, you must have a complicated schedule. >> i do. >> and the women must be very tolerant? >> well, they're -- first of all they're good friends. with me. most of the time. >> are they good friends with each other? >> some of them are. some aren't. it's complicated. it's much easier to have one wife.
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but when you have one wife and she leaves you -- and i've been divorced three times. my life was so hectic, it was really hard for them to keep up. i travel all of the time. >> you said, very movingly, that after you and jane split up, you cried for six months. >> i didn't cry for six, but i was brokenhearted for at least that long. >> did you try and win her back? >> a little bit. but it -- it looked like -- it looked like we were so far apart from philosophically that we couldn't do it. >> how many times have you been properly in love in your life? >> twice. >> jane and? >> and another person. but i've -- that's really in love.
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i loved a number of people. >> but there's a difference between being in love and loving. >> sort of. that's hard to tell where one starts at the other stops. you know? >> let's take another break. i want to come back and talk to you about keeping america great. what should america be doing now to revive itself? >> i think what we need is for humanity to be great. >> that is another point. but i want to ask specifically about america. >> okay. >> announcer: meet mary. she loves to shop online with her debit card, and so does bill, an identity thief who stole mary's identity, took over her bank accounts and stole her hard-earned money. now meet jack. after 40 years, he finally saved enough to enjoy retirement. angie, the waitress at jack's favorite diner, is also enjoying his retirement. with just a little information, she's opened up a credit line,
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since the united nation's foundation created nothing but nets campaign in 2006, more than 20 partners had joined and literally millions of people to raise $20 billion. and distribute some 2 million bed nets to children and their families in africa. >> ted turner talking about the united nation's foundations campaign to fight malaria worldwide. ted turner is back with me now. what do you think of america as a business model at the moment? the reason i ask is there's a battle going on now, i think, for the way forward for capitalism in america. i had howard shultz from
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starbucks come on and outline capitalism where it's incumbent to bring jobs back to america. to open factories here not in china and so on. and i think he was eluding to companies like apple who have ten times as many employees in china than america. what do you think of the concept? >> i'm working so hard on the survival issues that the financial issues and a lot of other areas, you can't be an expert on everything. and i'm not an expert on finance. i -- i believe that we should be doing business with everybody. >> does it help america and its national interests if very successful american companies that crate their ideas here than shift out much of the production jobs to other countries?
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>> well, that's -- that's unfortunate for us. but it's good for the people who get those -- there was a reason why those jobs were shifted. but maybe it was less expensive or maybe they were better workers. i don't really -- i don't really, really know. >> you were the first billionaire to stand up and say, "right. i'm going to give a billion to the u.n." now you see bill gates -- >> i gave away over a billion, almost 2 billion. but at one check. one commitment. >> when you see bill gates and warren buffet planning to leave vast sums of their fortunes, charities, i mean, they've taken their lead from what you did. many would say what do you think of that? >> i'm -- i'm part of the giving pledge. i'm going out to california to a meeting with warren and bill.
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they're good friends. and i'm -- i'm proud to be associated with them. >> is there too much greed in the world, still? certainly in america, do you think? >> the second place is there's too much greed. but what is -- there's a lot of generosity, too. i think there's more generosity than there is greed. >> has money made you happy? happier than you would have been without money? >> you've got to have enough to eat, you know. you need enough to make -- you know, to live at least minimally. you have to have that. but it's nice to live well. it is nice to live well. i don't think there's anything wrong with being rich. i've been poor and rich. and i didn't give that billion dollars away until i made it. so, you know, they both work. >> i wanted to know what you
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were like. we had lunch a few months ago in new york. and i was fascinated by one thing, about the detailed way you must lead your life. you ordered a specific number of fries with your bison burger. >> yeah, they're small. i'm fighting, like so many of us older men, particularly, but older women, also, and even younger ones have trouble with their weight. and i'm trying to keep the weight off of me. but i do want to taste a french fry because french fries, we make them fresh at ted's and i want to make sure that the quality is good. >> so five is the optimum number? >> i could have had three. actually, now, i'm not eating any. >> you're giving up? >> my doctor said i was allergic to potatoes. >> really? >> yeah.
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>> that terrible. >> yeah. well, they're testing me for allergies at the current time. i'm not eating potatoes. no dairy products, no cheese, no milk. >> any alcohol? >> nope, no alcohol. >> tobacco? >> nope. >> hard drugs? >> nope. >> god, ted, what are you allowed to do? >> i can't even drink a coca-cola. no soft drink. >> really? >> yep. no caffeine. no coffee. >> what are you existing on? >> water. water and i'm not supposed to eat any bread, either. i can have bacon and sausage. >> let's come back. i want to talk to you about the presidential race. i want to know who you think is going to win. what you think of mitt romney. one is for a clean, wedomestic energy future that puts us in control. our abundant natural gas is already saving us money,
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producing cleaner electricity, putting us to work here in america and supporting wind and solar. though all energy development comes with some risk, we're committed to safely and responsibly producing natural gas. it's not a dream. america's natural gas... putting us in control of our energy future, now. this is new york state. we built the first railway, the first trade route to the west, the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state. one that's working to attract businesses and create jobs. a place where innovation meets determination... and businesses lead the world. the new new york works for business. find out how it can work for yours at i'm don lemon. a deadly disease outbreak with
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no name and only children as victims. it's some kind of illness that doctors have never seen before and so far, can't treat it and they can't stop it. at least 61 children are dead. all of them in cambodia. medical officials are worried about it spreading to other countries.
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with odor free aspercreme. powerful medicine relieves pain fast, with no odor. so all you notice is relief. aspercreme. ♪ >> that song cable when cable wasn't cool, here is mr. cable cool, ted turner. let's talk politics briefly, ted. the election is coming up in november. who's going to win, do you think?
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>> i don't know. when i started cnn, i made the decision to stay out of endorsing candidates and let the viewers make up their own minds about politics. it wasn't going to come from me. the other networks were all telling everybody what to do. but i wanted to be different and let people make up their own minds. so i didn't -- i would talk about candidates and i could say about mitt romney, i think he's a real gentleman. i think he's been very successful. i think he's really smart. and i don't agree with everything that he believes, but i agree with a lot of it. and i think that he'd probably make a good president. but i'm not endorsing him. >> are you more republican or democrat? >> i'd like to say that, right now, about the last few years, the democrats have been closer and more pro-environment.
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the coal industry is pretty well entrenched in the republican party. and that's one of the things that we need to phase out. number one. >> i've got an interview with president bush coming up after this. specifically about military veterans. he was president for eight years before barack obama, but what was your overview of his tenure? >> i -- a lot of the things that he did, i didn't agree with. i didn't agree with the wars, for instance. and i didn't agree with -- he wasn't strong enough on the environment to make me happy. very little happened during his term. i think we would have been much better served if al gore had won. i mean, it was so close. anyway, then i think what was valid as president, i think we
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would have stayed out of those wars and certainly would have gone a lot further to switching over towards clean, renewable energy, which we really need to do. >> of all of the things you've experienced in your life. you've won the america's cup, you bought a baseball team and had great glory. you dated some of the most beautiful women and married some of the most beautiful women in the world. you've made billions of dollars. of all of the things that you've experienced, what's been the greatest moment of your life? >> the greatest single thing is to see all of my children turn out well. all five of them. >> and have that? >> they have. >> is that your proudest achievement? >> my proudest, personal achievement, my proudest business achievement would be cnn. >> how am i doing, by the way?
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>> how am i doing, by the way? i might as well get the verdict from -- >> how are you doing? i think you're doing great. i think you do a really good job. >> it's almost like -- i'm a catholic. it's like getting blessed by the pope. you realize that? >> finally, ted, it's been fascinating for me to go through this interview. you said once that at your funeral, you'd like willy nelson to sing to all the girls i've loved before. >> i've said a lot of things. i said what i'd like on my tombstone is i have nothing more to say. >> ted, it's been a real pleasure. please come back again. >> let's do it. i'd be happy to. >> coming up, former president george w. bush speaks out in a rare interview and a classic example of keeping america great.
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with 23,000 american troops to leave afghanistan by the end of all the summer, one former president is quietly playing tribute to american wounded warriors. a rare interview with man who stayed out of the limelight since leaving office. former president george w. bush. >> i've held our military in awe when i was president and the stories they tell just increase the awe.
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>> at first glance, the sergeant is who you expect in the warrior 100, over 60 miles of mountain biking out of the blazing texas sun. marathon runner and triathlete he has served the majority of his 27-military career in the army special forces including remarkably seven tours to iraq. >> joined army straight out of high school and what i wanted to do since i was 5 years old, give or take. as kids we play soldier but i just never grew out of it. i knew from the start. i started high school, got to get good grades. why? i'm going to the army. >> his battle at home is now his greatest. chris is one of the 20 u.s. military personnel here in texas for the ride organized by the george w. bush presidential center led by president bush himself. >> the w-100 is a hundred kilometer mountain bike ride to honor our vets who have been wounded in combat to thank their families and thank the groups who have helped them recover
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from serious injury. >> each of these warriors suffers from a devastating consequence at war. but chris, it's his leg. the ride is a chance to prove to the former commander in chief and to themselves what they can do. >> these are stories are courage, sacrifice and commitment. these are volunteers who wanted to serve the country and they did and they suffered serious injury. >> reporter: december 2005 while serving in iraq, chris was caught in a cross-fire. >> kind of walked right into about 16 man prison break that apparently had killed their guards, their iraqi guards, taken their ak-47s, apparently grabbed a few other ak-47s and was trying to escape. they were coming right around the corner. about 16 of them. turned the corner and they were right there. i shot, they shot. and the process of maneuvering around behind a tree, i had actually gotten shot once in each leg.
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>> one bullet severed a sciatic nerve in his leg. his wife will not forget the call to home. >> he was scared and he was starting to get -- he was having a hard time catching his breath. the pain was starting to kick in. it was hard. >> back in the u.s., walter reed army medical center, prognosis is not good. >> leg still wouldn't work. really from the knee down, i didn't have hardly any sensation and from about mid calf down, i had no sensation, no movement, no use. so when i would walk, the foot would just kind of flop there. >> seventh months later, chris and dana made the devastating decision to have his paralyzed right leg amputated. >> i was determined i'm going to get back and do everything i did before i lost my leg. >> chris would have to relearn how to walk. >> just two days before i got shot, i was training for a triathlon from when we got back
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from iraq and two days later, i'm laying in a hospital where i can't move for two months. >> relying on a prosthetic, chris returns to iraq but not one, but two more tours. >> when i found out that he was being returned to iraq with a prosthetic after he had already been injured, it was very, very scary, but we had a very -- our whole family is military so we come from that so we had a very, very overwhelming sense of pride that he was going to step up and do this. >> rehabilitation and return to combat, a chance meeting with his former commander in chief gave him what no doctor could. >> i met chris at the brook army hospital. i just finished my presidency and was down there in san antonio. -- for his leg. he said, i understand you mountain bike.
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>> we got to chitchat about bikes. he let me know he was a mountain biker and as the conversation ended, he started to walk off. he said you should join me in a bike ride sometime. i said, well, you are the boss. you say when and where, and i will be there. he said, okay, friday, 9:00 a.m., be at my ranch. >> and sure enough, he did, and a friendship and a lasting friendship started right there. >> since leaving office, president bush has stayed out of the public eye, choosing instead to devote his time to veterans and friends like chris self. >> seeing chris around president bush never gets old, never gets old. he loves him and loves what he has done for the troops and what he has done for the wounded. he's a wonderful, wonderful, genuine man and it's meant the world to chris to be able to be invited to these things and to be a big part of the w-100. >> it means the world to the president as well. >> it's important to me because i want to stay connected to the veteran community. i'm not going to be a very public person. this is a rare interview for me.
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and, yet -- and, therefore, i am worried the vets will think i don't care about them and this is a way to say, not only do i respect them, but i love them, and will continue to do so for the rest of my life. >> for the w-100 signiies what it means to the veterans. >> it's inspiring because some of these guys have some injuries that make me look like i stubbed my toe. you see a guy riding a bicycle with one leg on the same trails that the rest of us are able-bodied guys are riding it and you can't help but be inspired. >> an inspiration 20 wounded warriors and former commander in chief and a nation grateful for their service. >> the interesting thing you learn from a guy like chris self, when dealt a tough hand, he didn't fold. as a matter of fact, he didn't use his injury as an excuse. he used it an opportunity to excel. this is a man who has been in combat seven times, twice on one

Piers Morgan Tonight
CNN July 8, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PDT

News/Business. Interviews and current events.

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